Everybody's talking about... diversification

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

<i>Some printing companies are now providing added-value to their customers through diversifying their business model, which is more frequently including a range of non-print-related products and services. Should more firms start moving in this direction, and is print increasingly becoming the bolt-on product to other additional services?</i>

THE SERVICE PROVIDER
St Ives has a broad range of innovative services available to its customers. The new marketing consultancy service will be integrated into the company’s solutions portfolio, which offers customers a wide range of added-value services in addition to its print capabilities.

It is important that St Ives continues to be a strategic partner to its customers. There will soon be a mass uptake of advanced digital media and a decline in traditional media including print. That means printers have to exploit their options and embrace changes with the customers rather than just be booted out the door.

We are doing other things apart from just print, even though it does remain our core competence.

There are of course areas where print continues to strengthen, such as in our direct mail and book divisions, but companies are now looking for partnerships.

While the vast majority of St Ives customers have large and experienced marketing departments, they are receptive to and have expressed an appetite for an independent marketer to consult on strategic marketing briefs.

This could include a number of broad and varied strategic marketing briefs from customer insight, segmentation targeting, marketing strategies or through-the-line initiatives that meet the company’s wider business objectives.
Natalie Somerville, strategic marketing consultant at St Ives

THE PRINT AND BUSINESS GIFT SUPPLIER
It pays to diversify. The areas that we have moved into are now major contributors to our business and print has become a smaller part.

We started diversifying into non-print-related areas about 10 years ago when we were principally a continuous stationery supplier.

When we originally thought about diversifying we considered other areas in the print sector such as laser.

I think printers should be continually looking for other areas in which they can operate and different services that they can provide alongside print.

USB sticks, which is one product that we now focus on, are in some instances taking over from our short-run print work. We are increasingly downloading brochures to these directly and sending them out in electronic format.
Richard Milliken-Smith, managing director of Print Run

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